Hindered Prayer continued...
Another way by which the enemy attempts to hinder our prayer life – and especially the frame of mind we ought to have whenever we approach the heavenly Father – is by attempting to insert judgmental thoughts concerning others who pray, into our minds. This is especially true of corporate prayer, those instances when we hear a brother or a sister petitioning God, then suddenly we begin to think negatively about them, or judge them as they are praying.
Whether they seem too pious, or not pious enough, whether they don’t enunciate sufficiently or they enunciate certain words too dramatically, we begin to pick apart their prayers rather than remain in a spirit of prayer, and when this occurs we can know, with certainty, that the enemy has succeeded in hindering us, and thwarting our attempt at coming before God with sincerity of heart and pouring our hearts out to Him.
‘Look at her, praying all pious-like, when this morning she didn’t even shake my hand as I walked into church. Look at him, clasping his hands together as though he was really concentrating when he wasn’t even listening to my Bible study class this morning.’
These are thoughts the enemy attempts to insert in our minds, so the bond of fellowship might be broken, and our focus might be shifted from praising, worshiping, and petitioning God, to concentrating upon another who is praying in the congregation.
The enemy also attempts to sow doubt as to God’s ability or willingness to answer our prayers, as we are praying. We begin to have unbidden thoughts, such as, ‘I’ve been praying about this for so long, and still no answer, maybe I should stop,’ or, ‘you’re not good enough for God to answer your prayers, you’re wasting your time.’
However he approaches us, whatever it is he whispers in our ear, the enemy’s purpose is always the same: to hinder us in our prayer life, to discourage us from praying, and to get us, if possible, to give up on prayer altogether.
There is nothing the enemy loves more than a believer who has ceased to pray, because he knows it’s only a matter of time before that believer becomes prey.
Prayer is a weapon, it is a shield, it is a covering, it is strength, and without it we begin to spiritually wither and dry up until there is no life left in us.
God will never keep you from praying, God will never keep you from pursuing righteousness, God will never keep you from studying His word, and whenever we feel and see such opposition we know offhand it is the enemy and his schemes.
Not only does the enemy attempt to hinder us in our prayers, his ultimate goal is to extinguish in us the desire to pray, and choke off the Spirit of prayer in our lives altogether.
God the Father, Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit share the singular desire to see us grow spiritually, and become mature warriors for the kingdom of God. As such, Christ has given us the blueprint for the perfect prayer, God promises He will receive our prayers, and even when we don’t know what we should pray for, the Spirit steps in and makes intercession for us.
Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
We do not have prayer books, we do not have a certain set of prayers we are told to repeat incessantly, but the Spirit makes intercession for us, He reveals to us what it is we ought to pray for, and whatever it is He stirs us to pray for will be according to the will of God.
Just consider this: not only does the Holy Spirit make intercession for us when we do not know what to pray for, He searches the heart, discovers what areas we are lacking in, what our real and fundamental needs are, then He intercedes for us according to the will of God.
He does not do this for the evangelists, preachers, pastors, or deacons alone, He does not do this for the special people within the household of faith, He does this for all believers, no matter who they are, or how mature in the faith they might be.
The Holy Spirit of God is active in the prayer life of every believer. He puts the words on our lips and hearts when we have no words to speak, and stirs us to pray in one direction when human reason would dictate we ought to be praying concerning another matter entirely.
Because the Holy Spirit of God is also known as the Fire of God, in essence the Holy Spirit ignites our prayer lives. He sets our prayers ablaze so they might be uttered with fervency, focus, and purpose.
Any church, fellowship, or congregation wherein the Holy Spirit is active and working will inevitably be dedicated to prayer, and focused on prayer. The Holy Spirit ignites in us the desire to pray. He searches the heart and tells us what we ought to be praying for, and even intercedes to the Father on our behalf.
The enemy’s purpose is a basic one when stripped of its pretense: to put out the fires the Holy Spirit ignites in the hearts of believers, so rather than a pure and burning flame, there would be smoke and dying embers.
He is unconcerned with whether you’re rich or poor, handsome or wholesome, witty or dull, but he is ever concerned as to whether you are an individual who prays, and if you are, be prepared for the full force of his onslaught.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.